It’s been a long time since last I posted a recap of one of our RPG sessions. We are still playing the same campaign, which means that a great deal has happened since the last post on the topic. I’ll try to fill in the gap later, but for now, here’s the session of July 5th, 2006. Present are Bo (playing Jack McDonald) and Israel (playing Winston Slade).
The setting: an alien (Blue) mothership, the same size as a giant pyramid, only bigger. Floating above the far side of the moon (somewhere between Luna-synchronous orbit and hopping distance from the surface). Present are Winston and Jack, two superheroes dedicated to protecting the Earth from the deadly onslaught of Ymir, the living planetoid; Dominique Daveroux, whose real name was revealed two sessions ago to be Nitocris (Ancient Greek for “omnipotent clipboard bearer”); The Captain, a superhero who had been trapped on this very mothership in a deleted version of reality for 30 years, and who knew
Dominique‘s real name; and also, the ship itself, or rather its AI consciousness, presenting itself as a woman called Borrella.
Having emerged back into reality and re-activated by Jack, Borrella wasted no time reactivating her crew (slaughtered 30 years ago by the Captain, Nitocris and their companions) from backups. However, one of these alien crewmen underwent a violent seizure while still in the reactivation tank. Borrella planned to abort and discard him, but the PCs prevailed upon her to provide him with the needed emergency medical care. While in the medical bay, the alien crewman shouted out (semi-telepathically, so that everyone understood him)
“It’s Here! It’s Awake!”
Borrella projects a virtual reality image taken from the faulty crewman’s head: A spot on the surface of the moon, seen from high above, not far from where the ship is hovering. It’s pitch black, and it’s visibly expanding…
And that’s where this session opens, really.
… it opens with Borrella replacing the image of the expanding black disc, taken from the crew member’s mind, with an image of the actual surface of the moon at that position. Which looks perfectly normal.
Except… the Captain spots something unusual. A tiny dark speck. Borrella increases the magnification, and slowly the speck resolves into a man. A single human walking on the surface of the moon. The man is wearing a suit, but it isn’t a spacesuit. He’s wearing a black version of Winston Slade’s white suit. He also looks an awful lot like him.
Donning spacesuits, Winston, the Captain and Nitocris clamber aboard some flying platform thing and go out of the ship to investigate. Jack doesn’t really need a spacesuit, and in fact has spent the transit from New York to the dark side of the moon studying how to expand his powers, based on ancient Blue psychic techniques uploaded into his brain by Borrella the last time they met. So he flies down, tugging the platform with the other 3 along with him.
They fly down to the surface and along it until they see someone who looks exactly like Winston (except with a black suit and black hair) walking along in the general direction of the ship. They stop and Jack hails him. The man waves back, but doesn’t speak. There is some messing about with trying to get Borrella set up a telepathic relay, but in the end I think what was settled on was they they give him a spacesuit. This is a blue crystalline face mask, which once put on, immediately “grows” the rest of the suit around the person (yes, the cool tech was described only when the NPC got around to using it. Quit you’re moaning, it’s the right way to edit this).
Anyway, once communication is established, the man in black tells them that he doesn’t remember much, except coming to on the surface of the moon; he saw the big pyramid space-ship thing, and began walking towards it. He agrees to accompany they company back to the mothership, and it emerges that he does have some memories, which he seems to share with Winston, at least up to a point during Winston and Jack’s visit to Ymir.
I think that the PCs revealed to Winston` that he is probably an artificial duplicate or clone of Winston. But it’s only when they get back to the ship and are practically in the airlock when Nitocris falls back and tells Jack and Winston that Winston` is made out of Ymirites.
(Ymirites are the semi-biological, inorganic nanites that Ymir is apparently mostly made up of. Jack and Winston were infected by Ymir, but Nitocris cured them in the last session by removing all the Ymirites from their body into a fold in space. Did I mention omnipotence?)
Jack gets angry with Nitocris for only revealing this now, when they are in the ship, instead of before, when they could still get rid of Winston` by chucking him into the sun. I’m not sure if Nitocris gave the lame reply of not having been sure before, but she does argue that they can’t chuck him into the sun, because whether he’s a construct or not, he’s definitely a living, thinking being: they can’t kill him anymore than they could agree for Borrella to discard the revived crewman with the seizures.
Winston takes this in stride, and explains the situation to his double, telling him that perhaps he can help them against Ymir – figure out if Ymir is controlling him, override this and use it against Ymir. The duplicate is less enthusiastic about this – “it’s hard to see the bright side when you end up being the copy,” but Winston assures him that this defeatist attitude is due to being played by the DM, and will improve once they share their player.
I’ll also note that the Ymirites are too heavily integrated into Winston`’s structure for him to be “cured” of them like Winston and Jack were cured by Nitocris.
They also get Borrella to scan the area where Winston` appeared, and Borrella detects that there has been some fall of scattered Ymirite particles there.
Inside, Borrella has done some extensive redecorating, setting up a heavily-quarantined suite for them beyond the airlock, decorated in the best 70s interior design fashion. Jack tells her to upgrade.
There is much discussion of what to do with Winston`, and more importantly, how to prepare for fighting Ymir. Winston has come up with an idea for a device that will scramble communications between different parts of Ymir by shifting the frequencies of electromagnetic radiation; this weapon is being constructed on Earth right now, by a different group of alien allies (Greens). In addition, an automated factory directly below them, constructed by Borrella telekinetically in the previous session, is busy building giant-sized Heim hyperspace drives, which they plan to fit on Ymir so that they can divert him into the sun, or just rip him apart by jumping parts of him into hyperspace in different directions.
The Captain points out that Winston` doesn’t seem to be whoever the agitated Blue crew member was referring to when he shouted “It’s Awake!”. On cue, Borrella shows them that there is something happening on the surface, about the hyperdrive factory: there’s a dark circle converging around the factory, a small army of Winston duplicates all dressed in black. Their expressions and movements, however, seem to indicate they are more zombie than sentient.
As Borrella tries to scan for the source of the attack, people on board the ship are overwhelmed by her psychic scream, followed by a worrying silence. The lights flicker, and then a face of a Blue crewman appears; he presents himself as “Operator Seven”, one of the ship’s crew; he explains that telepathic attack has caused the ship’s AI to disconnect outside communication and scanning, and that it is being repaired. Or rebooting, or something.
Tiring of inaction, Winston puts on a spacesuit and jumps out of an airlock, down to the surface of the moon (presumably the ship is not exactly in lunar stationary orbit anymore, and probably not hovering over New York either – Bo was worried about the length of the commute.) The Captain follows him, armed with two bayonets and wearing a Red, White and Blue space-suit.
Winston lands just as the Winstonites reach the perimeter of the hyperdrive factory complex, and leap up high in the air in unison, landing and sending coordinated ripples of chi to wreck havoc with the shifting, moving factory floor (all these nanotechnological parts); platforms fly up in the air, structures collapse, etc. Winston and the Captain both keep their footing and begin to run around and kick Winstonite ass.
Jack flies down into the carnage, and tries to rescue a nearly complete Heim hyperdrive. As he reaches it and pulls it loose, he notices that Winston is in some trouble: having leaped out of his spacesuit to avoid multiple attacks, he launches a series of leap-frog jumps and kicks, skip[ping from one attacking duplicate to another, until one of them lands a lucky shot and punches him in the solar plexus. Winston finds it hard to concentrate on not breathing in space, but just then, Jack snatches him, bundles him up, grabs the Heim drive with a free hand, and flies straight back up to the mothership.
The Captain? He’s hanging on to the Heim drive. NPCs have to fend for themselves…
Back on board the wounded mothership, Borrella still isn’t up to deploying her weapons. Winston doesn’t bother to waste time recovering from the refreshing breath of vaccum, and urges Winston` to join him and go back to kick more ass down in the attacked factory. Jack realizes that an effective attack on Ymir will require more than just one hyperdrive, so he grabs a floating platform and flies back down, rummaging through the factory and loading the hyperdrives onto the platform, which he leaves hovering at a safe distance above (out of range for Winstonite leaps, one presumes). Winston and Winston` kick ass, running interference for Jack as he does the heavy lifting.
Eventually, they clear out. Jack notices that one of the hyperdrives is infested with Ymirites, and chucks it into space(?) Once Jack, the platform and the Winstons clear, the remaining Winstonites seem to dissolve into Ymirite sludge which begins to assimilate the destroyed factory.
As they approach the spaceship, telepathic contact is restored, or rather Jack finds he can hear Nitocris/Dominique’s words in his head. The people in the ship have managed to locate the source of the telepathic attack, and probably the thing which is controlling the Ymirites and Winstonites: It’s location appears to Jack as a flaming crocodile on the ground, somewhere between the place where they met Winston` and the factory (the croc is a sigil superimposed on his field of vision by Nitocris). Jack leaves the platform and the Winstons up in the spaceship and rushes down to the spot indicated.
Jack begins to dig, throwing huge heaps of lunar soil and rock high up above him, and his efforts reveal clear marks of unnatural underground activity: tendrils and tracks and fibers, like branching roots or earthworms are threaded all through the ground in the area where he’s digging. As he continues unearthing them, he begins to feel pain in his head; this is to a psychic scream as being punched in the face is to the sound of a scream. But Jack continues to dig, grabbing the tendrils and pulling. The tendrils don’t tear – they appear to be made of some super-strong carbon-fiber matter – but the soil does yield, and Jack uproots the heart of this creature, a giant kernel or eyeball or something which keeps assaulting him psychically. He hefts it and hurls it up into space, aiming for the sun; then Winston and the newly-restored Borrella drop plasma bombs down on the spot, and on the factory as well, scorching away all the remnants of the Ymirite infection. Jack emerges from the flames unscathed (force field or not?) and flies back up.
They realize that the thing Jack just dealt with was not another of Ymir’s eggs(*), but apparently something else left by Ymir on his last visit – something that was activated by a signal from the Ymirites infecting Jack, Winston or their ship (Carmilla) when they returned from their visit to Ymir.
So, the session ends with everyone back aboard the ship; they have the Heim drives, and Carmilla (their other ship, the little one) is returning with the scrambler weapon the Greens have built; it’s time to launch the attack on Ymir; they contact Perseus and the android (I really need a guide to Who’s Who) and a translucent “door” opens up in the air, through which these powerful and dangerous NPCs will presumably step through next time. Will someone new accompany them? We’ll find out Wedensday…
- Among the aliens mucking about on Earth, the most prominent are the Blues (psionic, highly advanced, partially integrated into the human population and nearly extinct culturally) and Greens (super-adaptive, multi-species and multi-sexual, with complex social structures, diverse phenotypes and also high technology). I mentioned them earlier. Jack is partially Blue, which explains his powers.
- There are also Atlanteans. No one really knows what’s up with them.
- There are also the snotlings, a peaceful race that escaped from Ymir and have been hiding beneath a glacier in Greenland in their city of green ice.
- The snotlings stole an Egg from Ymir. This is some sort of seed which can self-assemble into an entire new living planetoid. Currently, it’s in the hands of Perseus Nemo, the elder male Atlantean. He’s not sharing.
- I could go on.
- About the actual session: we rolled dice 3-4 times, during the factory fight scene. I didn’t bother rolling dice during the whole bit with Jack and the alien monster, though. I think this says I/We don’t really trust the dice.
- I suspect that I omitted a lot. I hope for much buffing.